Obituary: Professor Sir William Paton

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The Independent Online
I HAD no idea of Bill Paton's eminence as a pharmacologist, writes Nicolas Barker (further to the obituary by Professor A. David Smith, 6 November). What brought us together was a common love of books and, in particular, the work of the wood-engraver Thomas Bewick.

Something in the infinitely detailed blocks, small in size yet large in scope (every one a story as well a picture) appealed strongly to Paton. It was, I now see, characteristic that he should have sought to explore and find a still larger pattern in studying Bewick's vignettes as a whole.

The analysis of their subject matter, their location in the different books in which they appeared, their relations (not always clear) to the texts that they accompanied - all this occupied many happy hours of talk and correspondence. List after list, prepared with loving care on his home computer, was produced, refined and produced again, for an article that I hope will still appear in the Book Collector.

In all this Paton was the most engaging companion, enthusiastic in his quest, humble about his own achievement, with a warmth and enthusiasm that woke the same feelings in all those he met. His affection, the consideration he always brought to our problems and feelings, are to be remembered with as much gratitude as his great achievements in the field of medicine.